Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Sudan

 

Dinka, a Wonderful Nilotic Ethnic Group from Sudan

 

The Dinka are a Nilotic ethnic group from South Sudan. They live from the tenth century on both sides of the Nile River and speak a language belonging to the Nilo-Saharan group.

They are about 3 million and are divided into about 21 groups, each with its own legitimate leader.

Although farming has always been its main economic resource, there has never missed an important agricultural and fishing activity that allowed them to be self-sufficient in food.

Their trade and light industry are increasingly gaining importance.

Photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have an experience of over 30 years recording ceremonies, rituals and daily life of African tribal peoples.

His photographs reflect a long and deep relationship of respect for the customs and people of these tribes, especially those of the Dinka:

 

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1872 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-1.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”862″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1873 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-2.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”812″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1874 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-3.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”860″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1875 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-4.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”887″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1876 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-5.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”858″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1877 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-6.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”885″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1878 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-7.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”866″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1879 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-8.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”513″/>

 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1880 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-9.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”463″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1881 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dinka-de-Sudán-10.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”452″/>

Dinka de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone wp-image-1847 size-full” src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Impresionantes-imágenes-de-una-tribu-de-Sudán-11.jpg” alt=”Dinka de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”426″/>

Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-1848″ src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Impresionantes-imágenes-de-una-tribu-de-Sudán-12.jpg” alt=”Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”418″/>

Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán

Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-1849″ src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Impresionantes-imágenes-de-una-tribu-de-Sudán-13.jpg” alt=”Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán” width=”718″ height=”492″/>

Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-1850″ src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Impresionantes-imágenes-de-una-tribu-de-Sudán-14.jpg” alt=”Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán” width=”711″ height=”492″/>

Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán

Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán

Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán 

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-1854″ src=”http://tekey.net/b/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Impresionantes-imágenes-de-una-tribu-de-Sudán-18.jpg” alt=”Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán” width=”628″ height=”417″/>

Impresionantes imágenes de una tribu de Sudán

 

Saudi financed Joint Arab Force to be headquartered in Sudan? How convenient

Khartoum to be ‘capital’ of the joint Arab force?

The farthest State in the Arab League and one of the poorest and most ravaged by civil war (for over 3 decades) and whose leader has been summoned by the International Court for crimes against humanity committed in Darfur could be selected to host the headquarter of this stupid force financed by the most obscurantist Saudi monarchy.

Alwiya Mukhtar  posted this March 30, 2015 

Analysis: Sudan’s selection as the centre of the joint Arab defence force will help end Khartoum’s diplomatic estrangement with the Arab world.
An issue that will be discussed in May.
The closing statement of the 26th Arab Summit held in Sharm al-Sheikh approved the formation of a joint Arab force, emphasising that the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm will continue until the “Houthi coup ends”.
But first, Sudan would have to take steps to resolve its domestic wars?A Sudanese source told al-Araby al-Jadeed that “Khartoum was selected for the task”.
However, Ali al-Sadeq, a spokesman for the Sudanese foreign ministry, said no such decision had been taken.
Sudan is strategically located at the heart of the Arab region.

Analysts believe Sudan has the necessary logistical and structural potential to host the training and leadership of the Arab force, given its strategic location at the heart of the Arab region.

However, analysts say that implementation will require Khartoum to take serious steps to end its internal political tensions and wars across the country by reaching a comprehensive peace agreement and political settlement, leading to a transitional government with the participation of all political powers, including armed and peaceful opposition.

In addition, analysts point out that the coming phase will witness Arab and international pressure and initiatives to end Sudan’s internal crisis and thus guarantee a suitable environment for the joint defence forces.

They also consider the preparatory conference, held in Addis Ababa today and attended by both the government and the revolutionary front (represented by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North and Darfur movements, as well as the Umma opposition party, led by al-Sadiq al-Mahdi), to be a window to the awaited political settlement.

During the 1970s, Sudan was selected as a centre for the leadership of Arab forces, but this did not bring any political or economic gains to the country.

For years, Sudan has been suffering from an economic crisis, further aggravated by the separation and independence of the south in 2011, which lost Khartoum oil revenues that constituted nearly 70 percent of the general budget’s revenues.

Khartoum’s approval to host the Arab forces would end the break in relations with Arab countries, especially in the Gulf.

Thus, Sudan is expected to attract more investment.

Political analyst Maher Abul Jokh believes Sudan is the most suitable centre for the Arab forces, given its infrastructure (what that?) and the Khartoum building that hosted the UNAMID force before it moved out following the completion of its mission by the end of the transitional phase and the separation of the South.

Abul Jokh also believes it is unlikely for Sudan to relive what happened in 1973 when it was selected as a centre for Arab forces.

“Things are different now because there are real threats that prompt Arab countries to deal with them,” he said.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

– See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/3/30/khartoum-to-be-capital-of-the-joint-arab-force#sthash.wX0ZWVZt.dpuf

Sudan’s economy relies 98% on its oil production.  China receives 65% of the oil production and Japan 16% and India 4%.  While the US was prosecuting its preemptive war in Iraq for 9 years, China and India were heavily investing in oil rich African States and exploiting vast regions by major rivers for industrial agribusiness and rice fields.  China was bartering oil for building infrastructures to exporting oil and the natural resources it is exploiting (as in colonial times).  Most of the regions for oil exploration and extraction are located on the bordering line of the prospected partition.

Sudan is bordered by 9 States; all border lines are makeshift borders that colonial powers of England, France ,and Italy drew on “virgin maps”.  The southern part produces 65% of the oil and the agreement is to dividing 50% of all oil production between the two States in 2005, even before the coming referendum. Currently, north Sudan is holding the purse, the locations of the two refineries, and the oil pipeline that serves the major port of export in Port Sudan.

The people in south Sudan are expected to vote on the referendum for either an autonomous or an independent south Sudan in 2011.  A peace agreement signed in 2005 between the State of Sudan and the southern separatist movements put formally an end to an open civil war that lasted 17 years, since 1987, and displaced over 4 million; it is estimated that 2 million perished, mostly from famine, diseases, tribal infighting, and military campaigns.

Sudan is a vast State, as large as the USA (excluding Alaska) but is barely as populated as Egypt, less than 50 million. It acquired its independence from colonial England in 1956. England ruled this vast colony from the Capital Khartoum and totally neglected the southern part; England kept south Sudan in order to securing the sources of the Nile River that start in Ethiopia and Uganda and empty in the delta of Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea.

Foreign media are disseminating wrong information:  They are claiming that the people in south Sudan are Christians and want independence from the Moslem north.  Fact is, most tribes in Sudan, north and south, are animists:  They respect nature, the seasons, the ancestors, and the oral traditions and myths.  The people in Sudan, north and south, have been impoverished and discarded by world communities for 5 decades; they are suffering frequent famine and were plagued by common diseases, and dying from curable illnesses.

If the people in the south decide for independence, the first critical problem to resolving is how the equitable sharing of 50% of the oil agreement can be planned, managed, and executed; the negotiations on the procedures is the main cornerstone problem and it might drag for long time without “independent south Sudan” receiving its due share.

China will make sure that oil production will resume unaffected by internal disagreements and deals will be made with the State of Sudan until “independent south Sudan” demonstrates that it is a reliable State to negotiate with.  How the State of Sudan will reimburse its massive military machinery debts from Russia and China if oil production is disturbed?

The people in south Sudan have no interest in a complete independence:  the history in the last forty years, for third world States that got their independence, demonstrated that the next two decades will be ripe for internal conflicts among the powerful tribes and that most of the oil benefit will be siphoned into private bank accounts and internal leaders receiving handsome bribes from international companies, doing business and plundering the natural resources.  South Sudan will be the scene of camouflaged mandated control and management by foreign nations and regional powers.

The people in south Sudan have interest for an autonomous region.  All the central government institutions in the Capital Khartoum could be duplicated in Juba (the de-facto Capital in South Sudan) for the smooth functioning of the central government in the south.

The State of Sudan, independent for more than 50 years, has already relatively well-oiled army, financial institutions, and foreign ministry that are ready for reform that would satisfy the requirements of a newly autonomous region.  I believe that voting for independence will be a major handicap for any further reforms in north Sudan.

Salva Kir, the leader of the south Sudan movement, has already set the tone for a major phase of terribly discontent with northern Sudan. He blatantly made a  public statesman that he will immediately open diplomatic channels with Israel.  The worst part in the statesman was the announcement that Israel will become a major commercial and supplier of war equipments and training.  Salva Kir thinks that inviting bears in his back yard is normal behavior from intelligent people.

Note:  Satellite pictures of Sudan shows that the line of partition separates the semi-desert region in the north from the greener equatorial region in the south.  If the people in south Sudan opt for independence then, south Sudan will be bordered by the Central African Republic on the west, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in the south, Kenya, Ethiopia in the east.  It will lack any access to the Ocean and will need to invest heavily for infrastructures to exporting by sea through treaties with neighboring States.  Otherwise, south Sudan will be strongly dependent on north Sudan for exporting its oil production.  Maybe vast underpopulated countries such as Canada, Australia, Argentina, and Kazakhstan should be partitioned too for more effective management and equitable distribution of resources among all ethnic minorities.

China has officially visited Greece last week and signed 11 economic agreements.  China has secured the management of the main Greek port of Piraeus for 35 years in return of investing $700 million for building a new extension and modernizing the port.   The Greek vice premier declared:  “China invests in real money and is not like Wall Street using faked paper money.  China invests in palpable business matters and do commerce in real objects and trading goods.  China will aid Greece in a tangible economic development of its infrastructure.”

Chinese tourists are already invading the Greek islands.

The executive manager of the Chinese giant maritime company Cusco declared: “We have built the nest so that the eagle investors in China will find a place to come to.  This is how we contribute to the interest of both countries.”

Jealous Japan decided to increase its investment in Greece with $34 billion in order to compete with the Yellow Dragon.  Europe is understandably very worried.  Jonathan Wood said in London: “Europe is apprehensive of trade imbalance with China.  Europe might be in the same position as the US in trade imbalance with China.”

China has already taken over Sudan investing in oil, gas, agricultural lands, forest, water, and mineral resources while the US was busy playing war games in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The US had 50 years to befriend Sudan but considered this outstretched super-undeveloped country as a reserve land to fall back to when needed. The US may try to resume destabilizing Sudan in the short-term, but the game is over: The US can benefit to negotiate with China to becoming a major subsidiary in Sudan’s wealth.

The central bank of China is siting on a monstrous pile of liquid money and has to turn it over quickly:  “The price is not a problem” with this much devalued Yuan.

Save Darfur Movement? Not a cent reached Darfur; (Jan. 21, 2010)

            The Save Darfur movement started in 2004; it claimed to have reaped $15 millions in donations.  An official at the United Nations humanitarian action, asked how much Darfur received from that collect, replied “Zero dollars”.  The correspondent to Darfur, Mahmood Mamdani, called the movement headquarters in New York and got this response: “We are not an aid agency. Our goal is mainly to plead for the Darfur cause”

            I got into thinking “where does that entire donation sum end up?”  Then, I remembered reading banners displayed by Save Darfur which state: Let’s quit Iraq. Let’s go to Darfur” and Let the US army intervene now”.  It dawned on me that Save Darfur is recapitulating the Superman syndrome: the movement organizers do not give a damn about any resolutions of the Darfur civil war.  The organizers want expeditious revenge and blood vengeance; they want just to punish, finger point haphazardly culprit in general terms (Islam radical terrorists is very comforting).  It is the same Bush Junior mentality of waging war against ghost enemies that affect civilian collateral victims. The Save Darfur organizers want violence against violence, an eye for an eye; getting rid of the bad guys (assuming that they are the good guys).

            Save Darfur organizers have no idea of the political or social situations and they care less: they will be very confused if you interrogate them on specifics, especially who are the real culprits and who might be the good elements.  Who initiated this protracted civil war? How many militias are involved and which tribes are struggling for control of this area as large as France?  It is an ethnic, sectarian, or partition war of Sudan?  How many multinational oil and mineral enterprises and developed States are fighting for piece of the pie?

            The research center for epidemiology of disasters in Belgium reported 120,000 casualties since 2003; the number includes death from diseases and famine.  The UN branch for health reported 70,000 victims in total (35,000 are victims of violence).  Save Darfur is adamant: the number should be 500,000 and climbing exponentially.

            Save Darfur is targeting the high school kids for donations: popular singers and movie stars are financed to drum up support among high school generation: the generation in universities and older have wizened up to this fraud.  In order to convince high school kids the movement internet sites had nothing to offer but violent pictures and videos of rape, murder, and burning villages of the first year of conflict. Darfur is shown as a region with no past and no politics; just a dark region where evil reigns supreme.

            Save Darfur movement claims to expose the cause of the people but so far failed to explain or expose anything.  The American people are willing to donate to save Darfur (of what exactly?) but they hate saving Iraq or Afghanistan.  Why? Iraq and Afghanistan feel very much like paying taxes!

The world’s food basket: Africa is heaven for agribusiness investments.

( Part 2, Nov. 12, 2009)

You may read part 1: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/africa-is-targeted-to-be-exclusively-the-worlds-food-basket/

Let us plan for the year 2050; most probably earth will be inhabited by 10 billions humans.  We are barely feeding the current world population and millions are dying of famine related malnutrition.  Many under-developed States with vast “fertile” lands are leased or acquired by foreign agribusinesses. 

So far, 30 millions hectares (the size of 30 Lebanon or the size of the Philippines) are already in use for mass agricultural production.  Even China, rich in water and fertile lands, is leading this policy of “getting out of the borders”. 

There are two main reasons for China investing in agriculture overseas:

First, more water is diverted to the thousands of giga-urban centers;

Second, water is so heavily polluted by heavy industrialization that agriculture is suffering,

Third, climatic changes are transforming main wheat fields in the north into semi-desert lands,

Fourth, while the US and Britain are fighting their preemptive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, China takes the great opportunity to sureptitiously invest in infrastructures in Africa that lead to the raw material fields

Africa is the target continent because it has four large and long rivers such as the Nile, the Congo, and the Niger Rivers.  The Sudan, Mozambique, and the Democratic Congo are prime targets in the medium-term. Vast fertile lands are left unproductive for lack of investment and manpower.

  Theoretically, we should have win-win situations, but the facts are that the contracts of the multinational agribusinesses are not transparent:

1. There are no clauses on specificities that might benefit the population either in technology or land development.

2. Most of the contracts are barely three pages long and contain no precisions on investors’ obligations toward investing in infrastructures, durable management of the natural resources, or the training of the local peasants for developing small parcels of land and applying the technology. 

The President of Earth Policy Institute, Lester Brown,  said:

“Essentially, the technologies used by these agro-investments are meant for massive commercial production and not adaptable to the concerned small local farmers.  There is basically no transfer of technology or training. Thus, what the foreign investors are acquiring in lands is not going to feed the local population as we might hope.”

Let us consider the case of the oil rich Arab Gulf States: rice is their main staple and it has to be imported in totality. These States imported a third from India and then India had to curtail its exportation of rice due to climatic problems in order to feed its citizens.  These Emirate Gulf States imported 10% from Thailand (the first exporter of rice in the world) but then Thailand doubled the price of its rice to $1,000 the ton. 

How the Arab Gulf States were to counter this difficulty?  Their Sovereign Funds could be invested in rice fields in Thailand and that what they started to do. You could have a win-win situation: there are vast lands in Thailand that are not cultivated; increasing rice production should not hurt Thailand since rice prices are increasing and Thailand needs to secure oil provision. 

Instead of purchasing 10% of its need in rice from Thailand, the Arab Gulf States might increase it to 40%. One happier story: Thailand needs to establish a rice warehouse in the Arab Gulf to distribute rice at affordable prices.  Things should look pretty promising.  Joint-ventures in agribusinesses where Sovereign Funds invest the money and the Thai peasants got to work in jobs they are proficient in should not raise so much fuss: should it?

The problem is that internal politics in Thailand want a scapegoat: Arabs buying lands in Thailand; or rice production is a strictly national occupation and should be 100% reserved for citizens (as if the Arab is going to relocate to plant rice in Thailand!); or Thailand is not Africa and we are a developed nation.

Another case is Madagascar, a vast Island in East Africa. 

The standard of living in Madagascar has fallen below the one in 1960.  Why Independence pride has to be highly correlated with miseries in the former colonial States?  Major deforestation is the norm in Madagascar: people need to cook their meals! The South Korean Daewoo wanted to lease 1.3 million hectares for 99 years.

What it is with this taboo of 99 years lease of lands? Does every investor has in the back of his head to let his grand child witness his greatness and pray for his great spirit? The deal fell apart after the President of Madagascar, Marc Ravalomanana, fell out of power.

Apparently, not much transparency and communication were accompanied to that deal. In the meanwhile cattle thieves “dahalo” are on rampage. Even the tiny Maurice Island acquired lands (10,000 ha) in Mozambique for the island food sufficiency. Ramakrishna Karuturi (the king of rose production in 4 millions hectares) is leasing the hectare for two dollars a year in Ethiopia! Now, there can be no doubt that the Ethiopian government had received a fat bribe for such a lousy deal.

The Congo with Capital Brazzaville is half the size of France with barely 4 million citizens concentrated in the Capital and the other city Pointe-Noire on the coast. This African States was a French colony and is rich in minerals and uranium.  It cultivates potatoes.  

South Afrikaners who lost 30% of their agricultural lands for redistribution programs to the black citizens want to acquire or lease lands in this Congo; the Agri SA (South Africa) has 1,700 agribusinesses interested in producing soja, sugar cane, and corn. Ten million hectares were literally offered to the Afrikaners (a land stretching 500 by 200 km, twice the size of Switzerland) and its location is not yet decided upon; maybe entire virgin forests might be burned for agriculture. The Agri SA is promising to build agro-villages with ready-made houses contracted to Israeli firms.  What if the deal demanded that thousands of Congolese be trained to develop and grow lands after two years of working in the Afrikaners’ lands?  This deal is a striking political and ecological scandal because the terms of the deal are fishy and not communicated to the citizens.

Kazakhstan is practically a continent in size and barely 1% of the land is privately owned.  This rich and newly independent State imports 40% of milk, 30% of meat, and 45% of fruits and vegetables. The population is mostly rural. The States lease lands for 49 years. 

The State of Kazakhstan has set aside 35,000 square-kilometers to lease to foreign investors but only China is interested. Europe is not interested in leasing lands in Kazakhstan but China is.  China has already leased 40,000 hectares and planning on increasing its agribusinesses.

Kid-Soldiers; (October 30, 2009)

 

The last two decades witnessed recruiting kids to joining guerillas and armies in the various civil wars in Africa. The UN estimates that more than 300,000 kids played soldiers in various functions.  Since many kid girls were also swiped into “the war efforts” and be used mainly as “sexual slaves” and partners in many other tasks then the UN decided to name these kids “Kids associated with armed groups”.

Over thirty conflicts in the Congo, Chad, Sudan, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Mozambique, Angola, Burundi, Darfur, and Myanmar (former Burma) made the forced recruiting of children a way of life; many kids who grew up quickly by committing murder and learning to survive are still carrying arms after the cessation of hostilities.  The task of re-integrating these kids into their communities is turning to be a daunting effort.  Communities had to re-create rituals of purification so that the kids feel comfortable when welcomed in their families.  The UN is doing its best in that regard under the various MINU* missions.

Isolating these kid-soldiers is not the solution: families and communities have to be encouraged to taking these kids back within society.  The main difficulty is that families have greater need for psychological supports then the kid-soldier since families will have the burden of assimilating and controlling aggressive kids who turned out to be “best soldiers” for killing and executing their “enemies”.  Many of the kid-soldiers were forced to mutilate members of their families to discourage them from escaping the military group and going back to their communities. The kid-soldiers had the opportunity to realize their dreams of omni power status; they feel immortal with power to back it up.

These kid-soldiers would not go into agriculture or solitary jobs outside urban environments: they have dreamt of getting out of their former peasant or tribal restrictions and will not return.  Kid-soldiers like driving taxis in cities, mixing with people, and get remunerated as adult soldiers when disbanded.  Kid-soldiers are mostly ready as reservists for regular armies: fighting is their main job and they learned it better than adult soldiers.

International Justice failed to sent the strong right signal to those who hired and recruited kid-soldiers; actually, many of those recruiters were elevated to ranks of Generals after the civil wars.  What the UN is doing for re-inserting these kid-soldiers is not enough and short on target: the specialists are still in the phase of learning what to do with kid-soldiers before they can measure successes of re-insertion programs.  The governments offering funds for re-integrating kid-soldiers are doing it to relieve their bad conscience and care less for effective results.

Devastating civil war in Yemen: Is it of any concern to the UN? (Oct. 27, 2009)

The UN did it again!  Civil wars in non-oil producing Arab States are left to run its natural steam until the State is bankrupt and ready to be picked up at salvage price.

The UN tends to get busy for years in collateral world problems when civil wars strike any non oil-producing Arab States.  Occasionally, the UN demonstrates lukewarm attempts for a resolution in oil producing States as long as it is under control.

Lebanon experienced 17 years of civil war.  Morocco still has a civil war in south Sahara for three decades.  Sudan has been suffering of a rampant civil war for four decades.  Algeria is experiencing a resurgence of a devastating civil war that started in 1990 because Europe refused to accept a democratically elected Islamic majority in the parliament.  Iraq was totally neglected while Saddam Hussein was decimating the Shias and Kurds in Iraq for three decades, even after the US coalition forced the Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.  Somalia never got out of its miseries for four decades so far.  Mauritania is rope jumping from one military coup to another. The other Arab States are in constant low-level civil wars overshadowed by dictators, one party, oligarchic, and monarchic regimes.

A week ago, a few trucks were allowed to cross Saudi borders to Yemen carrying tents and necessary medicines to stem rampant diseases where hundred thousands of refugees huddle in refugee camps on the high plateau of North-West Yemen, by the borders with Saudi Arabia that closed its borders and chased out any infiltration of refugees.

The most disheartening feeling is that you don’t see field reporting of this civil war by the western media.  The written accounts are from second-hand sources and decades old. They abridge the problem by stating it is a tribal matter. They feel comfortable blaming Iran; then how this land locked region can be supplied by Iran needs to be clarified. The western media is easily convinced that Al Qaeda moved from Saudi Arabia and was ordered to infiltrate the Somali refugee camps in South Yemen; then how Al Qaeda got to be located in a region of North West Yemen with Shia Yazdi population is irrelevant.

The population of North West Yemen forms the third of the total and it is Yezdi Chiia that agrees to seven Imams and not 12 as in Iran; the Yazdi sect does not care that much about the coming of a “hidden” Mahdi to unite and save Islam.  The western media want you to believe that this war, which effectively started in 2004, is a succession problem to prevent the son of current President Abdallah Saleh from inheriting the power. Actually Saleh’s son is the head of the Presidential Guard which has been recently involved in the war after the regular army failed to bring a clear-cut victory.

Yemen was a backward States even in the 60’s.  South Yemen had a Marxist regime backed by the Egyptian troops of Jamal Abdel Nasser against North Yemen ruled by an ancient Yazdi Imam; a hereditary regime labeled the “Royalists” and backed by Saudi Arabia. After the Soviet Union disintegrated Yemen unified in 1990.  Since then, South Yemen and North West Yemen were deprived of the central State financial and economic distribution of wealth.  President Saleh could present the image of a “progressist” leader as long as Yemen was out of the screen and nobody cared about this bankrupt State.

Yemen is on the verge of being divided into three separate autonomous States, the South, North West, and Sanaa the Capital.  The problems in the Horn of Africa have migrated its endemic instability into Yemen; refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan have been flocking into the southern shores of Yemen for same climate.  Heavy influx of contraband products are keeping the people of these two regions precariously afloat. The deal between Hillary Clinton and Israel foreign affairs Levny to patrol the Indian Ocean was not just meant for Gaza but mainly to prepare President Saleh for his 2009 campaign against the rebels in North Yemen by monitoring contraband arms shipments to the “hawssy” rebel.

Saudi Arabia, during the duo power brokers of Prince Sultan and Neyef (respectively Ministers of Defense and the Interior) did their best to destabilize Yemen on account of fighting the spread of the Shia sect in the Arabic Peninsula. Yemen has no natural resources to count on and the population is addicted to “Qat” that they chew on at lunch time for hours.

Yemen was the most prosperous region in the Arabic Peninsula for millennia.  Land caravans started from Taez and then passed by Maareb from which town the caravans split to either Mecca (then to Aqaba and Syria) or took the direction to Persia and Iraq. All kinds of perfume, seasoning, and textile landed by sea from India and South East Asia; incense was produced from a special tree grown in Yemen and Hadramout. The British Empire didn’t care about this region; all that it wanted to secure were sea ports for commerce and to defend the entrances of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea to Egypt.

The UN is inheriting the same lax attitude of the British Empire; as long as the US bases are secured in this region then the hell with the people. Qatar arranged for reconciliation in 2007 and Saudi Arabia interfered to fail it. Archaic tribes fighting one another wearing daggers as symbol of manhood are all that there is in Yemen.

C’est quoi “human dignity”? (October 25, 2009)

Two blasts in Baghdad in front of the Justice Palace: 160 dead and over 50 injured.  Three weks ago, two blasts in front of the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad: 100 dead and over 200 injured.  Every day, two dozens are killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, and Guinee in Africa.  More military pre-emptive interventions around the world to “stem the scourge” of terrorism: only the western dead soldiers have faces and receive formal funerals with flags. Every day hundreds die of famine, curable diseases, and family violence but they are common news that are relegated, maybe, to statistics.  Everyday, thousands of girls less than 10 years of age are sold as prostitutes in India; statistics estimate there are 1.5 million of these kinds of children in the market place. What about the many articles in the UN Charter concerning human dignity?

Someone give you birth, you live a miserable life and then you die.  You live obeying orders, following opinions, reacting to impressions, fearing the future, shrieking when you see a large old black spider, hating mosquitoes, relatives, and family, and then you die. Excellent, that would be a fitting ending to life.  No, they won’t let you die in peace. First, you have to experience purgatory and then wait, and wait until someone decides for you to go to hell or transcend to a boring heaven. 

The concepts of dignity and liberty come in one package deal; the relative implant of these concepts in the organizational culture guides the trend in any one culture.  Human dignity and liberty of choices are the main ingredients in a “civilized” individual’s belief system; that’s what the UN wants you to comprehend but never applied equitably as the UN stated in its declaration with no discrimination to race, color, religion, or gender.  How long mankind has to wait for the UN to become a credible institution to all?

The mainly unconscious belief system is mostly hard wired in the nervous network that tips the balance on the thousands of daily decisions and only our actions reveal our real values.  If you tend to accept the above paragraph as making a lot of sense then most probably you have been strongly influenced by the Western colonial culture and tend not to dwell on any definition that discriminate how dignity and liberty are assimilated and interpreted by other cultures. 

            In fact, colonialism is fundamentally the imposition of a specific supra-mythical culture on other communities.  Outside the natural sciences, the colonial powers have no interest or need to fine tune the general concepts related to human sciences and much less of dignity and liberty.  The ancient colonial powers are still exercising their influence on other communities and have generally substituted military force by technocracy in banking, monetary reforms, and globalization of trade and finance, and technology standardization. 

The pragmatic western culture is resuming its well known strategy that says “the best route to transforming other cultures is to install the basic material standards and then, gradually and inevitably, the other cultures will adopt the philosophies of legal capitalism, democracy, modernism, progress and open borders for one world material exchange culture”

Liberty is not just the freedom for a community of selecting and adopting a religion, which is necessary but never sufficient.  A community that values liberty should be ready to genuinely accepts the contributions and values of other religions, traditions and customs. Liberty has for pre-requisite constant dialogue and inter-communication among the various communities and religions. Thus, any belief system is fundamentally wrong: it basically means to exclude the other beliefs; any reshuffling or modification to a belief system remains wrong no matter what and liberty means accepting variations on sets of values.

            A human is a whole microcosm in such a way that the destiny of humanity unfold through one individual and this concept is the foundation for human dignity, otherwise we are to accept that we are merely a tiny part in the chain of the other billions of individuals and we are ready to follow monolithic and totalitarian systems that want a unique universal conceptual system of values.

            If very few distributions of genes biologically differentiate an individual from his neighbor then we might conjecture that what differentiate the value system and moral behavior of an individual from his neighbor are a tiny number of qualitative attributes. It is not the numerous common elements that we share but the values we attach on rare qualitative values that set us apart.  There are special individuals like Gandhi and Martin Luther King who are the ultimate political men striving for sainthood through fair non-violent and active struggles for the dignity of the disinherited, the humble, and the common folks.

            What dignity is there watching swarms of skeletal humans roaming arid and desert lands among calcified carcasses, not a patch of green or a tiny tree on the horizon to taking shelter under, heading toward a camping ground hundreds of miles away for international relief succor?  What dignity is there to experiencing haggard humans fleeing civil war-torn villages to cramp up tent compounds? What dignity when these occurrences are frequent and happening all over the under-developed States?

Respecting human dignity means that we are ready to offer the individual with the tools and opportunities to resume fighting against imminent death, against famine, sickness, and oppressions: Life is a struggle against the chaos in death.  Respecting human dignity means alleviating the material struggle and thus shortening the necessary resting pauses when people feel the need to believe that destiny is traced at inception: they do at times feel exhausted; they have to surmounting artificial obstacles that are not in the nature of things; they do lose confidence in the organizations that constantly defy the processes of living organisms. 

Respecting human dignity is providing the resources to overcome the unnecessary frequent pauses when people are forced to believe in pre-destiny because they are not allowed to experience the little daily pleasures of loneliness, privacy, quality leisure time, and self paced working habits.

There is dignity in erecting a school for children so that they might grow with dreams of better opportunities than their present lot.  There is dignity in building a dispensary so that children and the sick grow hope of having their pains alleviated.  There is dignity sharing in the digging of a well and the construction of an irrigation canal, a few necessary infrastructures so that a sense of control over destiny is palpable.  It does not take much investment to increase the level of dignity for changing the mind set to an alternative course for the future.

As long as the disparity between the rich and the poor in a society is increasing then the culture of the society tends to obliterate the notion of dignity to all; it sends the strong message that the notion of liberty for seeking a happy and satisfying life is essentially selective among classes. 

Man is yet to be formed; it is a sickly creature but is nonetheless constantly inspired by dreams of what he can do and desire to transcend his inadequacies.  Man has proven to stand tall against injustices and fight a non-violent struggle at the expense of his own suffering, pains and even death for the dignity of his fellow man.

Sahara Lives (May 13, 2009)

The southern part of the Arabic Peninsula such as Yemen, Muscat, and Hadramout had trade routes for the incense they produced since the third millennia BC using donkeys for transport.  These urban civilizations domesticated first the camel for its milk and hair (coat) for tent making and eventually its meat. Camels were then used as beast of burden within the urban regions; an implement in the form of horse shoe (bat) surrounded the boss and when attached in the front served for stabilizing loads on both sides.

As camels were discovered not to need to drink for over two weeks while crossing long distances under extremely hot climates then, various modifications were necessary to holding loads for desert travels. Eventually, in the second millennia techniques for designing saddles for war purposes as a mounting fighting beast were introduced; there were saddles located ahead, on, or behind the boss of the camel for specific fighting advantages; the main specifications related to matters of control of the beast, stability, and range of vision.

The Bedouin caste system was thus created by the urban merchant to domesticate camels.  Camel riders were later used to support caravans as fighting guards against raiders.  Raising camels thus became a lucrative trade that specific tribes of Bedouins had the monopoly. The Romans never introduced camels in their northern African colonies because camels did not exist then in that region.  Otherwise, the Empire of Carthage would have used camels instead of elephants for their greater benefits.

Camels were introduced in the Sahara after the second century BC.  Bedouins riding domesticated camels crossed the Red Sea from Arabia and reached Mauritania on the Atlantic by taking routes in the sub Saharan regions such as Sudan, Chad, Niger, and current Mali. Then various tribes ventured north to Morocco, Algeria, and Libya.

In the seventh century AC the Moslem Arabs conquered North Africa and one of their leader Tarek bin Ziad crossed the Gibraltar strait to invade Spain. By and by, Arabic tribes settled in North Africa; the tribe of Banu Hilal settled in Morocco. More trade routes from the north to the south of the Sahara were created.  Consequently, nomadic tribes from south and north of the Sahara communicated.

There are many nomadic tribes crossing the sub Sahara desert.  One of the most known tribes is what the French called “Touareg”.  The name Touareg is an Arabic name for “tawareq” meaning “outsiders”.  The French colonial power tried hard to weave myths around the Touareg mainly to distinguish them from the “Arabs” who resisted every foreign colonial invasion from Spain, France, and Italy.  Consequently, the Touareg had to be categorized as a “white race” and very different from their Arab counterparts and the inhabitants of Algeria were divided as Arabs (coastal urbane) and Kabila (tribes or people of the interior).

Sahara is the Arabic plural for “sahrat” given to uncultivated lands but that are still inhabited by seasonal nomadic tribes around oasis close to urban centers. The desert regions that are not inhabited at all are called “khali” or “khlat”; caravans occasionally cross these desert area for seasonal trading events.

There are lopsided romanticism in favor of the lifestyle of the nomadic tribes based on myths of freedom, liberty, and level of democracy in organizing their life; I bed to differ strongly.  I recall reading an article published in 1908 in Paris by the Lebanese journalist Jubran Tueni Senior mocking a new method of teaching freedom to Bedouins.  Tueni relates that representatives from a new political party formed in Damascus visited nomadic tribes in Huron with the purpose of explaining the freedoms guaranteed by the new Constitution.  Tueni ends his articles “Wouldn’t it be wiser for the urban representatives to learn the fundamentals of freedom, liberty, and democracy from the Bedouins?” That is the kinds of romanticism that has plagued and is still plaguing our understanding of the “high” moral quality of nomads.

There are many different tribes settling and crossing the Sahara and speaking different slangs.  Almost all the nomadic tribes in the Sahara are Moslems with variations in the strictness of application of the “Sharia” or laws.  There are definite hierarchical structures within the tribes; in general, tribes specialized in raising camels are at the highest level. The Touareg tribes have a matriarchal society, the same that the Arab Peninsula tribes had before Islam; in the sense that women run the economical and daily life of the tribes and the men do the outside commerce and the raiding to bring in the spoil and loots.  The tents of the Touareg are made of leather while the Arab tents are made of camel and goat hair; the design of saddles is also different.

I recall a paragraph of one of the earliest books of George Orwell “The Cleric’s Daughter” describing the Gypsies with their stupid faces and their eyes shining with malice and mean purposes.  Many people might consider these sorts of descriptions as racist.  That authors should be judged as they change and develop and not on their early beginning is out of this subject matter. My contention is that this description could be applicable of any people who have been displaced from their familiar environment; it is true to nomads transplanted to urban environment for making a living or westerners happening to live among the nomads for making a living and not just tourists.  The factor of utter fear in new unfamiliar settings within a different society is the same no matter how advanced we think we are.  The nomads lead a harsh life and the exigencies for survival should eliminate romantic tendencies that they are saints and the ultimate in liberty to live at will.

The European nations, especially France and England, had far-fetched projects to conquer the Sahara. For example, they contemplated a TransSaharien railroad that would link the north to the south; they had projects to flood part of the Sahara by the Atlantic Ocean and form an artificial lake that might allow navigation to the Mediterranean Sea and circumventing the Gibraltar strait; they designed a string of hundreds of wells; and they wanted to divert the Nile River inland. There is a complex aquifer system deep in the Sahara large as 3 millions square kilometers.

Libya managed to construct a long and large water duct through the desert; this project is to be 3 thousands kilometers long and would extract 6 millions cubic meters per day from the underground aquifer by 2017).  Al-Khufrah, in Libya, is a town of dozens of artificial oasis.  Egypt has irrigated, since 1997, 600 thousand hectares from this underground aquifer from the oasis of Bahriya to the oasis of Kharga. Algeria mobilized 20,000 soldiers to plant 3 millions trees and restarted this project in 1998.  In 2007, Algeria has started the construction of solar energy; the Sahara is destined to produce enough solar energy to satisfy 25% of Europe demands in energy.

Currently, the Sahara is providing gas, oil, and uranium to the western countries including clandestine immigrants fleeing to better pastures.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

August 2020
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Blog Stats

  • 1,408,254 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 758 other followers

%d bloggers like this: